A Thank You to Our Veterans

Thank you to our veterans. Honoring those who served.

The Corporation for National and Community Service joins the Department of Veterans Affairs and the federal family during the commemoration of National Veterans and Military Families Month and Veterans Day on Sunday, Nov. 11 – a fitting tribute as we enter this season of thanks.

Some history first. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, an armistice went into effect, effectively signaling cessation of hostilities between Allied nations and Germany marking the end of World War I, “the war to end all wars.”

President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919, as the first commemoration of Armistice Day – the precursor of Veterans Day in the United States – noting how the day should be observed:

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America …"

Our veterans are cut from a different cloth, serving as defenders of American principles and protectors of freedom around the globe. In peace and in wartime, each generation has accepted this responsibility by facing danger with unparalleled valor and taken on the challenges before them with an unbreakable spirit and will to complete their mission.

More than 23,500 veterans serve in national service programs across the country

We are honored that more than 23,500 veterans choose to serve our nation again through our AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs.

  • U.S. Marine veteran Paola Gomez joined the VetsWork GreenCorps program, which works to mitigate wildfires on public lands in 11 states while training military veterans in careers in natural resource management and wildland firefighting. Even though Gomez suffered a personal tragedy when her mother died shortly before she joined AmeriCorps, she kept her commitment to the program and overcame her lack of wilderness experience to thrive in the program. She committed to a second year to train more AmeriCorps members and to share the experience with more of her fellow veterans.
     
  • Veteran Gordon Long has served with the Rochester, N.Y., RSVP Veteran Corps for the last 11 years. He is a volunteer driver for Fairport Baptist Home, Vets Driving Vets, and Penfield Symphony Orchestra. Last year, Long drove 2,700 miles and devoted 233 hours to helping individuals get to doctor appointments, grocery stores, and social activities, allowing more than 200 older adults to maintain their independence at home.
     
  • The RSVP Vet-to-Vet Program matches veteran RSVP volunteers with other veterans, helping connect them to services and programs through the Southern Maine Agency on Aging, Maine Veterans Services, the VA, and other social and support services. There are 60 veteran pairs serving through RSVP, where they build camaraderie through shared experiences and break down walls that can lead to isolation. One Vet-to-Vet volunteer is a Marine who embraces the motto “leave no man behind” in his service. He visits five veterans each week, mowing lawns, taking lonely veterans to lunch, performing minor house and car repairs, going grocery shopping, and talking with vets who may not see anyone else that day. He also serves as a VA certified Veterans’ Service Officer who helps veterans enroll in the VA system and gain access to benefits and services they have earned.
     
  • Darrell Whitman served two tours in Iraq and knew he wanted to give back to other veterans when he returned to the Gila River Indian community. Darrell and his brother Joey began addressing the needs in his community that he heard about through his membership in the local American Legion Post. He created projects to identify and honor veterans and assisted them with transportation. He has expanded his knowledge and gained additional resources to help the community, especially in the area of employment and economic opportunity, through his three years in the AmeriCorps Veterans Serving Veterans program. His program coordinator says, “Darrell is one of the most passionate, selfless and service-oriented people that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.”
     

Each year, Senior Corps and AmeriCorps members assist 750,000 veterans and military family members through employment services, benefits counseling, transportation, and housing support.

And our CNCS programs and initiatives have the great privilege to assist more than 750,000 veterans and military families.

  • The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Corps taps the knowledge, skills, and abilities of veterans by engaging them in AmeriCorps. These members act as peer mentors to veterans and military families at colleges and with community partner sites across the state, connecting them to information about veteran specific programs and services.  Through their service, they help increase veterans success in transitioning from military service to civilian life.
     
  • Through the Sustainability Institute, Veterans Energy Conservation Corps AmeriCorps members provide energy efficient home repairs and updates that have a significant, long-term impact on housing affordability for homeowners in Charleston, S.C. While finding a unique experience to continue their service, these veterans complete certifications and gain experience that lead to new careers and opportunities.
     
  • AmeriCorps members serving with the Making Veterans Priority program provide transitional support, resources, and supplemental assistance to veterans and military families across the Tennessee. They offer assistance to veterans and military families during  pre-deployment, deployment, and reintegration, helping connect them to educational benefits, employment services, and crisis intervention services, as well as completing home repairs and projects.
     
  • Catholic Charities USA engages veterans and military family members to serve as AmeriCorps Peer Navigators. These AmeriCorps members serve veterans, active military members, and military families across Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. They ensure that veterans and their families are able to access their benefits, while supporting additional health, mental health, educational, and social service needs. These AmeriCorps members also play a significant role in leveraging additional volunteers responsible for case management and variety of community based projects.
     
  • Through the University of Maryland Legacy Corps for Veteran and Military Families, AmeriCorps members provide caregiver support services to veteran and military families across California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, and Rhode Island. These AmeriCorps members provide respite and offer companionship to veterans, allowing them to remain in their homes and communities and offer support to caregivers and family members.
     
  • Vets Helping Vets RSVP program in Dane County Wisconsin matches veterans in need with fellow veterans who are Senior Corps RSVP volunteers. Through this program, RSVP volunteers provide rides to veterans and their families who need transportation to medical appointments and other meetings. This summer, the program and its RSVP volunteers were recognized as the Senior Corps program of the year by Serve Wisconsin. With more than 700 RSVP  volunteer drivers across Dane County, the program has made real impact providing more than 8,500 rides to more than 1,100 passengers.

We’ve really just scratched the surface of the thousands of service stories we enable by serving with and supporting our veterans and military families.

You can see this service in schools, community centers, faith-based organizations, VA facilities, our parklands, and pretty much anywhere you can imagine.

We consider it a great honor that so many who have served our nation through the military choose to serve again through our Senior Corps and AmeriCorps national service programs. We are privileged to learn from your examples of leadership and commitment to making our nation a better place for all Americans.

We hear this phase a lot, but it can never be repeated enough. …

To all the veterans who have answered when our nation called – thank you for your service.

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